The 61/2-month campaign raised $3,252,900, with 59 local businesses contributing for the first time.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The longest and most difficult fund-raising effort of the Youngstown-Mahoning Valley United Way has ended with the campaign's narrowly surpassing its goal.
The campaign raised $3,252,900, exceeding its goal by a mere $2,900, according to Garry Mrozek, 2001-02 campaign chairman and senior vice president for corporate banking at National City Bank.
The effort, which began July 28 with a pace-setter campaign kickoff, and whose September general campaign kickoff was postponed eight days because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, was extended into the new year in an effort to reach the goal.
"The tragic events of Sept. 11 and the softening economy have certainly presented unique challenges to United Way campaigns across the country, and we certainly have experienced those challenges right here in the Mahoning Valley," said Karen Feiler, assistant vice president of Home Savings & amp; Loan and chairwoman of the Community Corp., parent of the local United Way.
"This is probably the most challenging campaign in our history," she added. The local United Way was founded in 1919.
Final push: By early December, when the campaign normally ends, only 62 percent of the 2001 goal had been reached, but more than $1.2 million was raised during the two-month extension. "This will go down as the longest campaign on record for the United Way. We knew that we had to do whatever it took to reach our goal. The United Way funds vital programs that help to strengthen our community," Mrozek said.
During the campaign's final report meeting Tuesday at Mr. Anthony's, Parker Hannifin was recognized as the top corporate donor, giving $145,000; GM Lordstown employees were recognized as the top employee donors, giving $310,000; and the Youngstown Foundation was recognized for the largest foundation gift, $110,000. Some 59 local businesses contributed to United Way for the first time in the 2001-02 campaign.
Future: "Our goal going forward must be to continue to broaden the base of support. There are still far too many businesses who do not run United Way campaigns," said Don Cagigas, United Way president. Now that the money has been raised, the local United Way will be able to make final 2002 allocations to its 31 agencies and six community chests.
Also introduced at Tuesday's event was Thomas J. Cavalier, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Butler Wick Corp., who will lead the next United Way campaign later this year.